To put it simply: there is no better way to learn about psychology (and related disciplines), to travel, and to meet new people, all at the same time! Summer schools offer the opportunity to explore areas of psychology that might not be taught at your university, or to really explore a subject, seeing as this scheme allows you to focus your work on one topic in the company of students who are enthusiastic about the same subject. Last year, I attended a summer school on Law, Criminology and Psychology – coming from Germany, where Criminology is in the Law faculty, that was my opportunity to learn more about eye-witness accounts, lie detection, psychopathy, and how to interrogate children. Aside from classic lectures, summer schools often include seminars and group work.
Culturally you are most likely in for a treat as well; depending on your home country, you might be surprised about the level of intimacy during the seminars. You get to take part in discussions with students from many different countries, sometimes even from different disciplines, giving you new perspectives.
The atmosphere also gives you the chance to meet like-minded students as well as professional academics. Thus, summer schools are a great way to extend your academic network; aside from interesting discussions and incitements steeming from it, knowing people from different universities and countries can be advantageous if you plan to studying abroad or to continue your education as a postgraduate researcher.
And, en passant, you also get to improve your English, your presentation, and team-work skills.
However, summer school is a label that is used for many different purposes. Some are targeted more towards PhD students or postdocs (for example the Tübingen International Summer School, highly recommended), and offer the possibility to present your research as well
Where can you learn about them?
The key to finding the right summer school for you is to keep an eye out for summer schools advertised online or via posters on campus. Google is, as usual, your friend but there are websites that list summer schools, for example http://www.summerschoolsineurope.eu/ – these are all great starting points in your search for a more interesting summer.
Also, some institutions and organizations offer summer school regularly. EFPSA, for example, hosts the European Summer School, this year in beautiful Spain, and the Schola Empirica in Prague [http://www.praguesummerschools.org/] offer many different interdisciplinary subject areas.
Some institutions offer funds for travel or summer schemes that you can apply for, and some even are free.
Many Summer Schools take place in July and August, some a bit later. But most importantly, many calls are opening up now!
- European Summer School
- Prague Summer Schools
- Summer School in Tilburg
- Philosophy and Psychiatry
- Summer School on Mindfulness
So, go and enjoy your summer!